Government urged to use Brexit to restore and enhance the environment
Posted 22nd February 2017
The Greener UK coalition of 13 major environmental organisations, including The Wildlife Trusts, has launched its manifesto calling on the UK government to restore and enhance the environment as part of its plans for leaving the European Union.
It says, “We are depleting our soils and water supplies, generating mountains of food and plastic waste, changing our climate and making the air in our cities dangerous to breathe. Our wild places are dwindling, and we face the sadness of once familiar animals and plants fading away from our gardens and countryside.”
The manifesto launch follows a House of Lords report, which identified the risk of a vacuum in the the oversight and enforcement of environment legislation, and the challenge of effectively maintaining the extensive existing environmental protections through the Repeal Bill.
As well as sharing these concerns, the coalition wants to emphasise that Brexit offers the chance to make a greener UK a reality, by:
- Securing the benefits of existing environmental laws and principles through the Repeal Bill, as the UK leaves the EU.
- Ensuring the UK continues to co-operate with the EU on energy and climate change, and affirming ongoing investment in, and deployment of, clean energy infrastructure.
- Introducing new policies and investment that create thriving farming and fishing industries, working with the grain of nature to return our land, seas, lakes and rivers to good health.
- Passing an ambitious new Environment Act for England, building on the upcoming 25-year plan with measurable milestones for environmental restoration and high standards for pollution and resource efficiency. (New, separate Acts may also be required in the devolved nations.)
194 MPs from across the UK’s political parties have so far signed up to the Greener UK coalition’s Pledge for the Environment.
President of the Wildlife Trusts Tony Juniper, a leading environmental campaigner and writer, said: "If we are to seize Brexit as an opportunity to improve conditions for people in this UK then signalling a commitment to create a better environment is one critical touchstone. Looking after wildlife and environment is a vital prerequisite in promoting our health, wealth and security. A degraded environment is bad for our economy and bad for people and as we embark on the process of leaving the EU we need urgently to put in place the kind of framework and ambition that is fit for purpose.”
For more information go to www.greeneruk.org
Photograph: Farmland c. Zsuzsanna Bird
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